Sports News

Michal Kadlec, foto: ČTK
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In Sports News: the Czech Republic’s national football team ties with Scotland in their Euro 2012 qualifier; Jaroslav Kulhavý wins the World Championship in cross-country mountain bike racing.

Euro 2012 qualifying: Czech Republic ties 2-2 against Scotland

Michal Kadlec, photo: CTK
It was a busy weekend of sport with much of the attention being hogged the Czech football team and their controversial 2-2 draw in Scotland in their Euro 2012 qualifier. Well, controversial if you were a Scot at least. The British media has been raging since the full time whistle about Dutch referee Kevin Blom’s decision to award a last minute penalty to the Czechs – gratefully converted by Michal Kadlec – and then to disallow similar claims at the other end.

Coach Michal Bílek gave first caps to midfielder Petr Jiráček and Jan Laštůvka, the Dnipro goalkeeper - a surprise deputy for the injured Petr Čech ahead of the more experienced Jaroslav Drobný of Hamburg.

The game started brightly for the Czechs – although Galatasaray striker Milan Baroš was guilty of a outrageous miss early when he sidefooted a Jirasek cross over the Scottish bar from only ten metres out.

It all turned to gloom for the Czechs though when Miller raced through to score for Scotland shortly before half-time – although Laštůvka got a foot to the shot, many observers felt he should have done better.

Tomáš Rosický, Milan Baroš, photo: CTK
The main drama was left for the final quarter hour though – Plašil deflected home a Rezek cross to equalise on 78 minutes before Manchester United Darren Fletcher seemed to have secured the three points with a cool close range finish five minutes later.

Then to the final minutes of drama and Rezek was involved again, appearing to go down cheaply after a challenge from Scotland’s Danny Wilson – leading to Plašil’s point saving penalty.

So 2-2 and a fair result for captain Tomáš Rosický.

“We were of course better and we were all working for each other. We showed that when we are put under pressure we can still put in a good performance. That’s a good quality to have.”

Coach Michal Bílek seemed appeared on the whole satisfied with the result and the Czech performance, save for a couple of misses and mistakes:

Tomáš Hubschman, Alan Hutton, photo: CTK
“During the match we were passing the ball around much better than our opponents. We missed a real chance and then made a couple of defensive errors. This was a big deal because it’s not easy in such a match to attack. However, we are happy and I think that we have managed a great position in our table.”

The result leaves the Czech Republic odds on to finish runners-up in Group I – they have 10 points from six games with a five point lead over Scotland albeit having played a game extra.

Mountain bike racing: Kulhavý crowned world champion

Jaroslav Kulhavý, photo: CTK
On to cycling and it was a great weekend for the Jaroslav Kulhavý who raced to his first-ever elite men's cross country world championship on Saturday afternoon in Champery, Switzerland.

The victory rounds off a perfect season for the Czech and come on the back of his World Cup overall title that he won two weeks ago in Val di Sole. Former world champion Nino Schurter of Switzerland took the silver while still another former world champion Julien Absalon (of France) bronze.

"It's an incredible season for me - the best season in my life," said Kulhavý. "It's like what Julien did. I hope I will be the best like him. My future is just beginning. I think the Olympics will be a good race for me. I hope to get a medal."

From the start, it was a contest of six men: Kulhavý, Schurter, Florian Vogel (Switzerland), Absalon, Jose Antonio Hermida (Spain) and Maxime Marotte (France). The group formed on the start loop, and those who missed it were out of medal contention for the duration.

Kulhavý led the field for most of the race, one that was notáble for a spectacular crash and fall involving the rider Julien Absalon that knocked the Frenchman out of the field.

Afterwards, however, Kulhavý admitted that he didn’t feel great early on with tore ahead from Schurter with around one and half laps to go.